How-To Geek

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a type of access control technique used by copyright holders, publishers, and hardware manufacturers to limit the use, manipulation, and distribution of digital content after the initial sale of that content.

Examples of DRM include the encryption of digital video (on DVD and Blu-ray discs) to prevent the purchaser from ripping the content off the disc, locking ebooks to the account with which they were purchased (thus you can read your Amazon-supplied ebook on your Kindle, transfer it to your Kindle app on your iPad, or read in on, but you cannot give that book to a friend or transfer it to your Barnes and Noble Nook), and the restriction of downloaded gaming content to the console or computer with which it was downloaded (you cannot simply copy your Xbox Live Arcade games from your console to the consoles of all your friends).

While publishing and content companies maintain that DRM is necessary to protect their intellectual property and fight piracy, many annoyed consumers note that content locked down by DRM is still widely distributed by pirates yet paying customers are stuck with the frustration of dealing with DRM systems including locked hardware, content they cannot transfer between other devices, and other such inconveniences.


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